NEW BOOK - Opening the Hand of Thought - Chapter 1

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39075

    NEW BOOK - Opening the Hand of Thought - Chapter 1

    Dear All,

    We begin a reading of Kosho Uchiyama Roshi's book "Opening the Hand of Thought", a modern classic for practitioners of Shikantaza and Soto Zen. This is the second time we have looked at this book here in the "Beyond Words" Book Club (the last time was in 2008), but it is a rich resource worth going back to again and again. We had several requests in recent weeks.

    This time, we will go at a rather brisk pace, about a Chapter per week (maybe a portion of a Chapter sometimes).

    We will being this week with Chapter 1 - Practice and Persimmons.

    Anything resonate for you here? Any particular passages or ideas? Any questions or difficult to understand portions?

    Please drop in a comment with anything that strikes you, and don't be shy. Please don't be quiet out of hesitancy.

    Enjoy!

    For those awaiting their copy (all Shikantaza sitters are encouraged to read it), it is available partially online while you wait.



    Gassho, Jundo

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-03-2016, 07:08 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Mp

    #2
    Thank you Jundo, will start to dive in. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday

    Comment

    • Washin
      Treeleaf Unsui
      • Dec 2014
      • 3749

      #3
      Thank you Jundo.
      I would like to participate in the reading.
      I am planning to order this book from Amazon some next days
      while using the google link for this beginning..

      Gassho
      Sergey
      sat-today
      Kaidō (皆道) Every Way
      Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
      ----
      I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything that I say must not be considered as teaching
      and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

      Comment

      • Myosha
        Member
        • Mar 2013
        • 2974

        #4
        Hello,

        Thank you for the link.


        Gassho
        Myosha sat today
        "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

        Comment

        • CK732
          Member
          • Aug 2015
          • 252

          #5
          Looking forward to reading it.

          Gassho

          Clarisse


          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

          Comment

          • Onkai
            Treeleaf Unsui
            • Aug 2015
            • 2809

            #6
            I enjoyed the chapter. what struck me was the discussion of accidental and undeniable realities and how that relates to practice. I liked the following statement:
            The Buddhist approach from a Mahayana perspective might be described this way: By accepting and properly understanding the true nature of both accidental and undeniable realities, and by living in accord with this understanding, the matter of living and dying will cease to be such a terrible problem. (p 11)
            That is saying a lot. And yet,
            ...the little we become aware of in life is just scratching the surface...We just continue to practice, aiming to live a true way of life as best we can, neither worrying nor gauging what we are doing (p 20)
            I was also struck by the statement that thoughts and feelings are secretions of the mind. (p 16) That is good to be aware of. Sometimes thoughts and feelings seem to be reality, when they don't actually reflect their surroundings.

            I had been meaning to read this book, and am glad to have the opportunity to discuss it.
            美道 Bidou Beautiful Way
            恩海 Onkai Merciful/Kind Ocean

            I have a lot to learn; take anything I say that sounds like teaching with a grain of salt.

            Comment

            • Jundo
              Treeleaf Founder and Priest
              • Apr 2006
              • 39075

              #7
              The Buddhist approach from a Mahayana perspective might be described this way: By accepting and properly understanding the true nature of both accidental and undeniable realities, and by living in accord with this understanding, the matter of living and dying will cease to be such a terrible problem. (p 11)
              I wonder if I may make one comment without muddling this up. I wonder as a translator whether the "accidental" here (implying that something was "unintended" or without a clear cause or human plan or scheduling behind it) might mean something more in the philosophical sense of something that is changing and impermanent, might happen or not happen, comes and goes. More a "contingent" event:

              contingent

              1. Liable but not certain to occur; possible: The parade is contingent on the weather.
              2. Dependent on other conditions or circumstances; conditional: arms sales contingent on the approval of Congress.
              3. Happening by or subject to chance or accident; unpredictable: contingent developments that jeopardized the negotiations.
              4. Logic True only under certain conditions; not necessarily or universally true: a contingent proposition.
              So, for example, when we have the Jukai Ceremony next Sunday, it is not "accidental", in the sense that we are planning for it, I organize it intentionally, and the reasons for it are understood by us (to mark the receipt of Precepts). So, it is intended, planned and not "accidental".

              However, the ceremony is "accidental" or "contingent" in the sense of something that might happen or (if life intervenes, I get sick, the power goes out) not happen, starts at midnight and ends an hour later, is limited to that certain time and place so is small and finite, is our Jukai and not about other people, is not an inevitability or a necessity. It has some significance for our group, but then we forget about it a day later. I think this is the meaning of Uchiyama's "accidental" events. Our very life, birth and death, seem contingent too in this way.

              Beyond that, however, Uchiyama also points out that, to the Wise Buddha Eye, all these finite events and phenomena also have that suchness which is Boundless, Timeless about them, transcending coming and going and limited place and time, each grain of sand holding all the world, all time, the kitchen sink and that ain't all. So, nothing is simply limited or "accidental" or "contingent" in that way, even when simultaneously a passing and limited contingent and finite thing or event. That goes for our life and death too.


              Maybe I just muddled the muddy waters more. This is why Zen folks are advised to stay away from philosophizing about words.


              Gassho, J
              Last edited by Jundo; 01-04-2016, 05:29 AM.
              ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

              Comment

              • Ongen
                Member
                • Jan 2014
                • 786

                #8
                Thank you Jundo!

                wsqzr.jpg

                Gassho
                Ongen

                Sat Today
                Ongen (音源) - Sound Source

                Comment

                • Kokuu
                  Treeleaf Priest
                  • Nov 2012
                  • 6737

                  #9
                  Great to look at this again. I often recommend it to people and remember it being good but can't actually recollect much of the content!

                  One teacher of mine recommended reading widely at first and then getting to know 10-12 essential texts really well. I suspect this is one of those 10-12 essentials.

                  Gassho
                  Kokuu
                  #sattoday

                  Comment

                  • Anshu Bryson
                    Member
                    • Aug 2014
                    • 566

                    #10
                    For those who don't yet have the book: (the ebook bundle is quick, handy and economical) - http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/opening-hand-thought

                    Gassho,
                    Anshu

                    -sat today-

                    Comment

                    • Myosha
                      Member
                      • Mar 2013
                      • 2974

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Jundo
                      I wonder if I may make one comment without muddling this up. I wonder as a translator whether the "accidental" here (implying that something was "unintended" or without a clear cause or human plan or scheduling behind it) might mean something more in the philosophical sense of something that is changing and impermanent, might happen or not happen, comes and goes. More a "contingent" event . . . .

                      Gassho, J
                      Hello,

                      It was helpful to consolidate the distinctive accident/undeniable realities as 'conditional'. For the talks' original audience, perhaps, distinction is more appropriate.

                      Every day is a good day.


                      Gassho
                      Myosha sat today
                      Last edited by Myosha; 01-04-2016, 11:47 PM.
                      "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

                      Comment

                      • Kyotai

                        #12
                        I will join in a week or so when paperback arrives. (Wondering if those Amazon delivery drones work in -29 Celsius . .)

                        Gassho, Kyotai
                        Sat today

                        Comment

                        • ForestDweller
                          Member
                          • Mar 2015
                          • 39

                          #13
                          Ripeness is all. Readiness is everything. No wine before its time. And on the sentiment goes. Yet it seems, so many of us just want to get to the result - the fruit. "Wasting" time on selecting seeds, tilling the ground, nurturing the plant, and THEN harvesting at ripeness eludes best efforts. Then there are the tricky plants that, for example like the persimmon, need grafting or some other special treatment. Sounds like people. Yes? Relationships don’t just happen, and they certainly aren’t “purchased” in the produce department of life. To eventually dwell in a lasting, loving friendship or spousal partnership takes a lot of up-front tending and care. If I sound like I’m preaching a bit, it’s only to put down in writing what I want to remember. Up here, in the remote boreal Forest, true relationships are even harder to find, and due to the harsh conditions, they are even more essential than usual. So this construction of “self” duly remembers. – Forest Dweller (CatherineS) -^^ForestSatToday20degrees^^

                          Comment

                          • Anchi
                            Member
                            • Sep 2015
                            • 556

                            #14
                            Thank you Jundo !

                            Gassho
                            omom

                            sattoday
                            Life itself is the only teacher.
                            一 Joko Beck


                            STLah
                            安知 Anchi

                            Comment

                            • Joyo

                              #15
                              Thank you, Jundo, and all for joining. Will start to read chapter 1 this week.

                              Gassho,
                              Joyo
                              sat today

                              Comment

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